Wednesday, December 26, 2007

eBay Fever

If you're a friend of mine on flickr, you're probably getting very tired of seeing pictures of My Little Ponies. I've had several photo shoots with the little plastic horses, giving them baths, doing up their hair and making them look pretty. And it's all because I've got eBay fever! I've had boxes of My Little Ponies and Breyer horses in the basement for years, only displaying my very favorites because of limited space. (And because I don't want to be known as the crazy lady with toys all over her house but no kids.) So when we began our frugal living kick (in preparation for home-ownership) I thought why not sell off some of the excess and make a few dollars! I've made nearly $400 so far both on eBay and private sales, not too shabby! And I get to do one of my favorite things:clean up and style ponies! My plan is to continue to pick them up at garage sales, clean then up and sell them to collectors. So if you're into My Little Ponies or Breyers, I may just have something you'd like to have!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Drop In & Decorate

Cookies from work
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
Our Drop In & Decorate party at work went so well! Our goal was 100 cookies and we decorated over 150! We also collected canned goods, washcloths, soap, toothpaste and my dentist donated 2 dozen toothbrushes! Lynda made a giant pan of her wonderful fudge to add to the cookie trays and we had about 10 people drop in and help decorate the most gorgeous cookies!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Continued drama

My dad is having surgery on a tear in his eye tomorrow morning. I hope everything goes well, they are worried it would turn into a detached retina, which my friend Tom had happen this past year and it was debilitating and quite frightening. Luckily he (Tom) had had it happen before as a kid so he knew exactly what was happening and went to the hospital ASAP. Minutes can mean the difference between keeping or loosing your eye site.

Back after a harrowing few weeks

I have been away from the blog for a few days (ok, more than a few). But my, do I have stories now!

I was in a car accident a week or so ago. My cute (new!) Yaris was rear ended by a large truck and was totaled, but luckily both the driver of the truck and I were fine. While his insurance was very nice to deal with mostly, it was a headache having to call so many people (his insurance, the repair place, our insurance, car dealer) and the stress of only having one car for a week. I wanted a new Yaris just like my old one so that it is just like it never happened and that's exactly what I got. Except that my old one (if you can call 6 months old) was a 2007 and my new on is a 2008! It all worked out, I got cookies at the car dealer just like last time, there are a few new features on the 2008 and I am just so thankful I wasn't injured.

The inspection on the house turned up some more serious issues that the seller was not willing to deal with so we ended up walking away. We are back to square one but have some prospects that we are going to go tour this weekend. Everything was just piling up with the fixer-upper, too much fixing-up and not enough redeeming qualities. That was also a headache though, arranging all the estimates, batting figures back and fourth with the seller and finally coming to a decision to say goodbye.

My cookie exchange got ice-stormed on but a few people still showed up! We had all kinds of cookies, chocolate crinkles, peanut butter blossoms with kisses on them (classic!), soft ginger cookies, triple chocolate chunk cookies, Russian tea cakes, chocolate chip bars and rice kripsy treats! At least, those are the ones I can remember!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

House Update

We did it, we bought the house. Our inspection is tomorrow so barring anything terribly wrong with the wiring or foundation or something like that, we will close at the end of the month! Then the real work begins! Choosing flooring, paint colors, trim, cabinet hardware and all those fun things!

This weekend is my annual cookie exchange. I think the group will be pretty small this year, everyone seems to be out of town this weekend. But small is good, it means less food to make and less chairs to pull out and less stress! I wasn't really in the holiday mood and wasn't really sure if I'd get the house decorated in time for Saturday but last night I put up Christmas lights and watched Elf and it really perked my Christmas spirit! So tonight is wrapping presents and putting up the tree! Cocoa, here I come!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Productive Post-Thanksgiving

I hope all of you had a lovely weekend after all the Thanksgiving hub-bub. Mine was nice and productive! I got several swaps done and ready to send out EARLY! And I finished two quilts for Project Linus! I packaged up some My Little Ponies to mail off to lovely people who want to add them to their collection. I am downsizing in an effort to raise money.

Why am I raising money and finishing up swaps early? We are looking at a house to buy! It would be our very first house! (we rent the one we live in now) So we are practicing being frugal this month (I know, what a month to pick, right?). I got all my swaps that were due ready to go and I have put a moratorium on new swaps. I will also be ebaying several Breyers/model horse stuff/My Little Ponies to raise a little extra cash.

So, tell you about the house you say? It's in a lovely area, just a block or two away from where we are now. It's got three bedrooms, two baths, some lovely new things like a roof and furnace and windows. But it needs a bit of TLC in the looks department, like trim around the windows and paint in every room. We can do that but it takes money, as if buying a house isn't expensive enough. So we'll see if it is doable once we get an estimate for some of the larger items that need repairing (like the ceilings that have goops of adhesive from ugly tiles that were taken down and some finish work to the walls). It's all very exciting and even if this isn't the house for us, we will be buying one fairly soon (within the next 6 months) and I am confidant we are adult enough and make enough money now to go for it! Any house buying advice is very much welcome!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you! Turkeys are one of my favorite birds (right up there with Cardinals and Yellow Finches) so I thought I'd share some turkey knowledge with you. My sister, who will be visiting today for Lunch, has the most beautiful turkey I've ever seen. I miss turkeys, they're so massive, they're like dinosaur birds!

Baby turkeys are called poults. When you order chicks from a mail-order company, they are all jumbled together and if you ordered turkeys and chickens, there is a secret to telling them apart. Turkey poults will have a tiny tuft or ridge of feathers on the their head while chicks heads are smooth. You can see the little tuft in this picture, right behind the beak.

It is an old wives' tale that turkeys will drown if left in the rain. They are not the smartest or most athletic bird but they know won't drown in a downpour if they've got somewhere dry to go. Or they stay and keep their heads lowered, they certainly don't look up to see the rain and then drown as the tale goes.

Most domestic turkeys are like penguins, unable to fly. This is because (for the turkey, not the penguin) they have been bred to be so large they can't sustain a flight of any substantial distance. That being said, most can flap frantically and heft their bulk up onto a bard rafter or into a tree if they see the need. Poor penguins can't manage that but then, they can swim so they've got that going for them.

I agree with Ben Franklin (though it is debatable whether he actually suggested it in earnest) that the turkey would have made a much better National symbol. Turkeys are brave fighters, vegetarians, and just as majestic (if not more) as the eagle with its swelled breast and striking facial features. Franklin remarked that the Eagle is a scavenger, a pirate and flees at the sign of trouble. Eagles can be found throughout the globe but turkeys are uniquely North American. Enjoy your regional specialty today whether you eat it or merely enjoy its company!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This winter I have challenged myself to do more service projects than I did last winter. Throughout school, 4-H summers and college, it seems you're handed all these volunteer opportunities, so many that you have to pass some up just to have time for the rest. But as an adult I've found that you truly have to seek out ways to serve and be helpful so this winter I put my researching pants on and found a couple of charities I hadn't helped out before. My list this year is:

*Donate large items to the Humane Society (guinea pig cage, small animal supplies, large bale of pine shavings, two bags of tennis balls and dog toys)

*Donate items to the Corgi-Aid Auction. Keep your eyes peeled later this month! (bracelet, pins, bandannas, notecard set, post-it holder)

*Arrange a Drop In & Decorate party at work. This is an awesome idea, get together with buds, decorate cookies and donate them! I've spoken with the local shelter and they would love to have our cookies. Our goal will be 100 fancy decorated sugar cookies. If this goes well, I think we'll do another for valentine's day or maybe Easter!

*I have arranged a craft group meeting at house and challenged everyone to create at least one blanket for Project Linus. Then I'll drop them off at headquarters which is just a few towns over. I finally have a reason to finish that zoo-themed printed quilt top I got at a garage sale!

*Angel Tree-I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Angel Tree at our bank so we can pick out our tags and SHOP!

That should just about do it! I'm a big planner. If I don't plan ahead of time, then I'm sure the whole service project thing would slip my mind so I've got my plan of attack!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Glitter houses

WIP glitter houses
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
Two little unfinshed houses that have sat of my craft desk for ages will finally be finished! I joined this Charming Cottages Swap so now I have an excuse to finish them! For those interested, the patterns are from the book Vintage Christmas Crafts .

I found a really neat webpage dedicated to the original vintage Christmas village houses. Papa Ted's Place also has a page on building new houses!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Home baked dog treats-cranberry and cinnamon

So, I've lost faith in most products for dogs, especially commercial treats. You never know what's going to be found in them or how harmful it will be. So I've decided to bake our own treats about once a week so we always have a nice supply. Sully gets a treat every time he goes in his crate and we also dole them out liberally when training and throughout the day as rewards.

I also LOVE baking but baking dog treats is even better than baking human treats because I get the fun of baking without the calories! For me, anyway. Today's batch was Cranberry-Cinnamon, very fall holiday-ish! They're inspired by some treats we got from my mom that both the dog AND the cat went gaga for! There is a fair amount of sugar in these (honey and sweetened cranberries) so they will be an occasional treat. Here's the recipe:

Cranberry-Cinnamon Treats

1/4 cup of margerine (1/2 stick)
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup dried cranberries, try to find unsweetened but sweetened will work (if they are large, chop into smaller pieces.)

Mix margarine, vanilla, honey and eggs together. Then add flour and cinnamon. Stir in cranberries. Roll out on floured surface and cut with cookie cutters or use my snap-making technique with a pizza cutter. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, remove and let dry completely.

Poor kitten

Mike and the cat
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
We took the cat to the vet (group activity without the dog, VERY rare occasion) and found out he has a pretty bad bacterial infection in his ears. I had noticed some schmutz in there and had cleaned then a few times but they didn't smell and it didn't look like mites so I let it be. Now I feel a little bad because he's probably been a little uncomfortable for about a month now. I'm a bad cat mom! He has been excessively friendly ever since we went away on our trip and came back, I think he truly missed us. So this is a picture of Mike getting in some quality time with Redderick.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

So Sore!

Oooh, my team weight lifting class last night was a doosie! So many push ups, so many squats! Yikes! Other than that, this week has been peachy.

We've reached 200 posts over at the SwapDex! Hooray! Weigh in with your opinion about the format, swaps included and anything else you'd like to tell me.

I wish I could say this post was brought to you from the NEW LAPTOP that Mike brought home a few days ago, but the truth is I'm a little afraid of it. So I haven't used it yet.

Last week we had a family photo shoot with a photographer. Sully, Mike and I but no the cat since the shoot was outside and I don't think he'd appreciate being on a leash in the cold (so cold!), being held for about an hour. I'm anxiously awaiting the proofs so we can pick out our new family portrait!

Friday, November 2, 2007

New winner!

Ok, so we had to redraw a name since the original winner never got back to me. The new winner is:

Just email me with your mailing address, Leslie, and I'll get your bubble mailer full of Halloween goodies right out to you! I know, Halloween is over, but the candy's still good and the non-candy items will keep until next year I'm sure. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Winner of the Halloween package!

The winner that Mike drew out of the box is:
The Fairy Godmother

However, everyone else may have another chance to win because I have tried to contact her and have not heard back. If I don't hear from you, Fairy Godmother, by 10 pm central time tomorrow, I will be re-drawing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Super Corgi

Super Corgi
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
And Sully was Super Sully! This costume was purchased in Metropolis on our vacation last year at the Superman Museum. It's made to fit a dog of a much different.....stature than Sully. The cape is the best part!

This year's costume

Originally uploaded by Corgipants
Today I was a gnome lady. Long skirt, long apron, striped knee socks, pointy hat! Based on the Wil Huygen books about gnomes, which I read as research for a swap I did a few months ago. The detail in those books is stunning, even if you aren't really into fairytale creatures. You can see more pictures on my flickr.

Greetings from the Halloween party!

I'm here at the party, dining on apples with caramel dip, apple doughnuts and apple cider! I'll show you pictures of my costume later tonight. Can you guess what I am dressed up as? Here's a hint: With my costume on I am well over 6 feet tall!

And I will be drawing for the Halloween prize package at 10 pm central time tonight! All you have to do to enter is comment on one of my Halloween posts. But please make sure when you comment to enter that I have a way to contact you (comment with your email or make sure it is in your profile) or else I will pick someone else's name.

Happy Halloween!

Yes, the day is finally here! I'd like to share with you this Pumpkin Carol.

It's from this book, which I've had since I was a wee goblin.

Have a frightfully gory and gross Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hall of Halloween costumes

Originally uploaded by Corgipants
Here's a picture of me as Cousin It. That's my actual hair, circa 1992. You can see a lot of other Halloween costumes I've had throughout the years on Flickr. And maybe some dressed-up dog pictures too.

Come to a Halloween Party!

To play along, check it out here.
I'm very excited to participate in this Halloween Blog Party! With the trip and everything, I haven't had a chance to decorate much for Halloween around the house or at work. :( So I am going to try and make up for it here and post a lot of fun Halloween pics. Come join us, hop around to everyone's blog and have some spooky fun!

And each person who leaves a comment today or tomorrow on my Halloween posts (starting with this one) will get their name in the witch's hat for a chance to win a small bubble envelope of Halloween goodies! Please make sure you comment with your email since Blogspot doesn't share those with me.

Great mail awaits!

When we got back from our trip, not one but TWO great swap packages awaited me! (So sorry for the delay in posting, secret pal and swap partner, Mike and I are nursing colds but luckily I took yesertday and today off so I should be back to the swing of things tomorrow.)

First, my Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth swap package! Oh my goodness, when I first opened the box, it was stuffed FULL of candy! Better then going trick or treating, my booty was delivered to my door instead of the other way around!

Farther inside the box were all kinds of treats! Cotton yarn and more cotton yarn! Not one but TWO handmade washcloths! Mango-passion fruit soap and a sachet which is going in my car which smells a little musty (combo of wet dog and sweaty yoga mat). And the cutest ghost and bat stitch markers!

But wait, there's more! A mousepad calendar (never saw those before!), notepad and magnet, Halloween tattoos (definitely wearing one to work tomorrow), a dishcloth pattern book and a kit for making Halloween ornaments! Thank you so much secret pal! But to me, you are still secret. Unless I missed a note, I only know that your first initial is A and that you are from Atlanta. Please reveal yourself so I can thank you properly!

And from a swap on Swap-Bot, I got a darling clothespin doll all decked out in a dress and carrying a purse. And with her came a traveling case full of travel stickers, tags, beads and fun things!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend in Review

Lakeshore loot!
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
We are back from our long weekend of dog show and visiting family. Here's the breakdown:

Drive up-fine until terrible, dead-stop traffic due to an accident on 294 or somewhere thereabouts

First destination-Hotel where the dog show was being held. Awesome welcome goody bag with tons of dog food samples, a free Frontline Plus application(awesome!), food, toiletries, a leash, an ice cream scoop, giant bag clips for dog food bags, bandanna, dog toys, and more!

Small incident with the crate when Mike and I were at hospitality party, Sully has minor freak-out and busts through mesh door of soft-sided crate. Emergency trip to Target for shoelaces to lace mesh back together. Not a problem since. Mike has head cold so we pick up Sudafed (the good kind) while at Target. Bed is extremely hard.

Dog Show-Sully gets his first leg toward CD title (1st place), first leg toward RA title (2nd place) and a 1st place in Rally Novice B. (See pic of loot.) Very happy!

Shopping at Mitsuwa-Grocery list includes: Panko breadcrumbs, fresh pastries shaped like crabs and pumpkins, Rement miniature sets!!!, much Japanese candy and tiny bento box paper cups

Bed is still very hard.

We discover a nail in our tire, Mike very nicely offers to sit at Walmart getting it patched while I watch tv and pack up.

Drive was scenic and much more exciting than our normal route to WI!

Next destination-Hotel in WI, bed is much improved! Room has two fireplaces, but no real fire in either.

Dinner with in-laws goes well. Sully meets three new dogs and hangs with them fairly peaceably.

Jenna now has Mike's headcold but has softer bed to recuperate in. Herbal tea, whirlpool bath, soft tissues help too.

Ate in a mine shaft-themed restaurant for lunch.

Dinner at in-laws, dogs behave, things are good. Nice to relax, no to-do lists, no email, no phone.

Long drive home, 6 hours as usual but seemed longer because the drive up was broken into two relatively equal chunks.

Goodwill, scored a skirt for my Halloween costume and a new (to me) wool coat. I can't stand to pay $50 or more dollars for a coat when I can get one every year or so at Goodwill for $6!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Long weekend

Cat in a basket
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
The act was complaining the there have been too many pictures of the dog on here so here is a picture of Redkins. (aka Redderick, Red Army, Load, Red Kitten, Skitten)

But this post is still mainly about the dog. We are taking a long weekend up to the Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi Cub Specialty. We'll be competing in Rally and Obedience on Friday. Then we'll be visiting my husband's family in WI since we will be halfway there already! Sully's first trip to Grandma and Grandpa Z's house! Wish us luck and we'll report back next week!

Fall into Autumn Topic of the Week

This week's topic:
"How was your experience in the exchange? Did you enjoy the folks you met? Did you just love the cloth and goodies you received? Please share any thoughts, criticism, and things you loved!"

So far, I have enjoyed keeping in touch with my sending and recieving pal! I really like secret pal exchanges and the secrecy that goes along with it, sending anonymous ecards and such. I haven't recieved anything yet but I'm sure I'll love it when it gets here. The weekly topic has helped me keep in touch and reminded me every week that I am part of the group. I haven't been able to visit as many people's blogs as I would have liked, I've been busy preparing for our dog show this weekend/4-H starting up this fall but when I get a chance, I'd like to at least pop in to everyone's blogs at least once. The hostesses have been very helpful, answering any questions I had and dealing with a little bobble there at the start.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sully, the YouTube Star

Inspired by Corgi Tails' cute videos of the week, here is our own contribution to cute corgi videos on the internet! We made a couple, you can see the rest if you go to our YouTube page.

A Nutritious Post

I received my package from the Fruits and Veggies swap I hosted on Create a Connection. Carolee sent me this awesome multi-media painting! And some recipe cards which look very tasty! Thanks!

Speaking of fruits and veggies, there are heaps of them over at A Year At Oak Cottage's Sarnies event! Remember my Delectable Grilled Cheese? Granny Smith apples, Edam cheese and Blackberry jam, all melted together! Vote for it if you are so inclined, there are prizes at stake!

And, speaking of food, I want to hear about your family's holiday menus. I've posted before of my love of menus. I love how different people combine foods. And I love how different food combinations become almost obsessively ingrained in your mind. In my mind, you can't have noodles without mashed potatoes and a hot roll. You can't have meatloaf without applesauce, corn and mashed potatoes. And holidays menus are particularly fraught with these peculiarities, different for each family. In my family (my mom and dad), our holiday menu is basically:

Turkey, from which turkey and noodles is made of some of the meat and the rest of carved up.
Mashed potatoes
Turkey Gravy
Hot rolls
Sage stuffing (dressing really because it's not cooked in the bird but on the side)
Pineapple and lime jello salad
Cranberry and carrot jell-o salad
Relish tray with sweet and dill pickles, black olives, carrot and celery sticks
Pumpkin pie with cool whip
My sister's famous German Chocolate pecan pie (really, her recipe was in Taste of Home)

What does your family have?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tutorial for Dog Cookies

Oc-Tute-ber tutorial #8 for:
Ma's Seven Way Dog Cookies

This is my Ma's recipe for dog cookies. They're not hard to make but if you just don't have time to follow ALL of these steps, you can buy the mix here (and benefit a good cause-the Yorkie Angel Patrol). My mom and other helpers put together cute little baking sets that include cookie cutters and mix and come in a reusable cloth drawstring bag.

The recipe:

dry ingredients:
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached or all purpose flour
1/4 oat bran
3/4 cup dry milk
1/2 cup oatmeal (ground fine in the blender)
2 teaspoons beef or chicken bouillon (optional, I don't add this)

Step one is grinding up your oatmeal. You can use either quick cook or old fashioned, it doesn't matter.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together.

To this, add your wet ingredients:
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup hot water

And ONE and only ONE special ingredient from the following list:
1/4 cup dried cheese
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup dried veggies, chopped fine
1/4 cup dried fruit, chopped fine (not raisins)
1/4 apple sauce
1/2 to one small jar of any baby food (meat, fruit or veggies)

The key to this step is waiting to add the hot water until after you add your special ingredient. You can see I am adding a jar of stage 2 sweet potatoes
baby food. (I add the whole jar because, really, what am I going to do with 1/2 jar of baby food? If it was pineapple or fruit salad flavor, I'd eat it but sweet potatoes? No thanks.) If I had added water beforehand, it would have been way too wet because really if you add the whole jar, you won't need much water at all, maybe a tablespoon or two. If you add dried cheese as your special ingredient, you will definitely need more water. The consistency you want is like sugar cookie dough because you will be rolling it out. It should not stick to the bowl.

Which brings us to the next step! Roll it out. I forgot to take a picture of this step apparently, but I roll it out onto a couple of sheets of cling wrap. This is because I do not use cookie cutters. I make cookies by the sheet and cut them into snaps, as I will show you next. But you can certainly roll it out, cut cute shapes with cutters and transfer them onto a cookie sheet. I do that for special occasions like Sully's birthday party but for everyday cookies, I make snap biscuits.

I flip my rolled-out dough onto a cookie sheet by laying the cookie sheet face down over the rolled-out dough, bringing it toward the edge of the counter and then quickly flipping both so that the dough lands on top of the cookie sheet. Then I peel the cling wrap off, which is what you see here.

You might remember this pizza cutter action from the egg noodles tutorial. I am very fond of the pizza cutter, it's my secret weapon! I cut the dough first in one direction and then in the other to make small squares. If the dough sticks to your cutter, lightly flour the top.

Here's a sheet of cookies, all ready for the oven. You do not need to separate the cookies before baking. You are essentially perforating the dough so that once it's baked, they snap apart easily.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and flip all the cookies over. This is easily done since they can be flipped with a large spatula in sections. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. I usually let them bake until the edges are just turning a darker brown. Cool completely until they harden. Break into individual cookies and store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tutorial for Dog Tie

Oc-Tute-ber Tutorial #7 for:
Dog Tie (or Cat Tie, I suppose, if you are so inclined)

This week, all of our tutorials will all focus on our furry friends.

If you like the idea of dressing up your pet but you have the challenge of owning a male, it can be hard to find cute clothes. You can go the khakis and t-shirt route and have people think you actually think your dog is a furry child. Or you can go the sailor suit/biker costume route but I think those are just silly. Unless you're a sailor or a biker. One fashion accessory that can be dressed up or down is the tie. You can have a goofy light-up, plays music Christmas tie. Or you can have a snappy gray on gray silk tie. I'm fond of really tacky 70's ties so I scour garage sales and my husband's tie rack. :)

What you'll need:
a tie you don't mind cutting up
thread and needle OR sewing machine

First, measure your dog from the point of the collar to where you want the tie to hit. Corgis are, of course, a little short so ties are much easier to make for a taller dog, more dangle room. Sully measures about 6 inches from collar to where I want the point of the tie to be.

Double your measurement. This will be how long we will cut the tie from the fat pointed end. (Unless you are going for the 80's skinny tie look, then you can cut from the skinny end.)

Finish the cut end by folding the edges in and then pressing the two corners inward to create a slight taper on the end of the tie. I hope you can see that in this picture. Sew directly over the end of the tie, catching all the layers.

Now from the skinny end of the tie, cut a piece about 5 inches long, cutting off the point if there is one. Stitch the ends together, creating a loop. This will be our "knot" in the tie. Turn so the raw edges face the inside.

To put the tie on, fold the tie over your dog's collar with the pointy side on the outside and the flat stitched end on the inside. Then thread both ends through the "knot" loop. If your dog is very vigorous, you could stitch your "knot" loop to the back of the tie so it doesn't fall off but I find it stays on pretty nicely and I like the assurance that if it gets caught on something, it can just slip off with gentle pressure.

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week

This weeks topic:
"Are you the type that likes to go to participate in all the fall festivities like apple picking, pumpkins, decorating for the fall, hay rides, baking fall goodies, etc. or do you just sit and count the days till Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah?"

Oh how I do love fall, everything fall! I love the weather, it makes being outside so much more enjoyable than dreary, rainy spring, hot, steamy summer or blistery cold winter. But I can't say that I do too many organized fall activities. I enjoy walking the dog and tend to take longer walks on nice fall evenings. We usually each carve a pumpkin and we might visit the local orchard (though it's a little touristy with it's goat pen and hokey trinket shop). On the farm, we were big on bonfires or even smaller-than-bon-size fires in the fall but here in town you can't burn things. I do wish there was more time between Halloween and Thanksgiving though. As soon as you put the tombstones, skeletons and purple lights up, you have to take them down to put up the turkeys and gourds!

On a different note, keep your eyes peeled here this week as our tutorials will be featuring items to make for you four-legged friends!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

When I Grow Up

At the concert the other night, Mike and I were undoubtedly the youngest people there minus a boy who looked to be about 14 and had obviously been dragged there by his grandparents. I know it wasn't a totally rockin' concert but aren't there some people without gray hair that attend events at arts centers? Besides us?

Yesterday I hosted a tea party for two of my friends who each have two little girls. We had finger sandwiches and little cookies and jell-o orange wedges and fruity teas and many other fun things. Fairy wings, poofy skirts, and stuffed animals were in large supply. I wore an apron and a tiara! And Sully, our Royal Corgi guest of honor, graced us with a visit to receive fistfuls of cookies from each girl.

This is a trend with me. I fit in with the very young and the very old, it seems. But the trend isn't just with me! I'm reading Rejuvenile by Christopher Noxon, which is about the growing trend of adults to adopt childlike attitudes and occupations. One word for them (for me, dare I say?) is kidult. Kidults collect action figures or jump rope or read the funnies or have a slinkie on their desk. Kidults wear pigtails or play video games or join co-rec soccer teams. There is a vast spectrum of kidults from those who have a secret train set-up in the basement to those who decorate their entire house in Hello Kitty.

Our Park District is great and we're lucky to have it but just like every other Park District, they cater to the young (under 16) and the old (over 55). I can't wait til I'm 55 so I can go to Bunco, Breakfast and Bingo, Paddleball, Potlucks, Mystery Trips, Hayrack Cookouts, Halloween Brunch, Name That Tune and a host of holiday activities! I guess most people my age are having kids and so their time and attention is mainly taken up by their children's activities. But I really wish they'd offer more for adults then just fitness classes and softball. Maybe I'll paint some wrinkles on and wear a hat to the Fall Tea or Gingerbread Making!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Egg Noodle Recipe

Oc-Tute-ber tutorial #6 for:
Egg Noodles

When the weather turns chilly and you want some warm, stick-to-your-ribs food, noodles really fit the bill. My family always did turkey and noodles at Thanksgiving and Christmas but at our house we do noodles cooked in veggie broth served over mashed potatoes. Maybe you buy those over-processed packaged noodles. Or maybe you live near an Amish community and shell out WAY too much money to those nice ladies in the bonnets. I'm here to tell you, you can make and stash away your own noodles for less than $1 a bag! This is my mom's recipe, with tips and tricks direct from her.

What you'll need:
2-3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)

Put your flour in a large bowl. You can add the baking powder if you'd like, mom says it makes them more tender. Add one egg at a time until it holds together enough to roll out.

Air on the side of too sticky rather than too dry. Once you've added the third egg, if it's still dry add a tablespoon of water at a time until it holds together. Too dry and the noodles with be hard to roll out and they'll be tough.

Flour your hands, take about 1/3 of the dough and move it to a floured surface. Roll it out as thin as humanly possibly. My mom is a much better noodle roller than I am but she's had more practice too. The thinner they are, the less doughy they'll be, they'll puff up more and be oh so tender!

Now cut you noodles. Mom does this differently than I do. I just pizza-cutter then into long strips which tend to be uneven but they'll taste the same. Mom cuts the rolled out dough into strips about 3 inches wide, stacks those strips and then cuts them VERY thin across the narrow part of the stack, making shorter, skinnier noodles. These dry faster and also are easier to package into bags to save for later.

Once your noodles are cut, you can drop them into boiling water or broth and eat them right away. Or you can dry them and save them for later. Just lay them out in a single layer on newspaper or tea towels and let them dry completely before bagging them. Noodle-making day was a big event before the holidays. We'd get out all the card tables, top them with newspaper and spread out batch after batch so we'd have enough for the big noodle season to come.

Noodles (thinly cut) should completely dry overnight. If you're a little leery about storing egg noodles just in a bag in the cupboard, you can also store them in the freezer after drying.

Home on the range?

On Friday, we went to see Riders in the Sky! I won tickets at lunchtime from a radio station but I was thinking about buying tickets if I didn't win them. We've seen them once before and it was a nice show. I do like me some cowboy music and they were doing a centennial tribute to Gene Autry. It was a nice enough time but occasionally when listening to songs about cowpokes and herds and calves and pushin' dogies I start to think about the actual subject matter. It's a nice enough imaginary picture, cowboys and horses and sunsets and I'll tap my toe to a tune about that. And while I prefer not to eat meat, purchase leather items or display a pair of horns on the front of my Yaris, I don't judge those who do or who make their living from that industry.

I read Ree's Confessions of a Pioneer Woman like a lot of you, and admire all she has learned and become. I have the opposite experience as her, coming from a farm to live in the city. Her stories and pictures often remind me of the lives of my family and my sister's family and some of the things you accept when you are part of the system. And so, one of my thoughts during the concert, during the song Ridin Down the Canyon, was of a recent Pioneer Woman post about shipping cattle, the modern-day equivalent of a cattle drive I suppose. Not exactly picturesque to think of electric prodding animals into trailers, but that's another reason I do like Ree's blog. She's showin' it like it is, only ever so slightly skewed toward a more romantic-comedy cattle ranch then probably actually exists, and people can see, learn and make decisions for themselves. I'll continue to listen to my cowboy songs and daydream of lonesome cowboys, driving cattle with no end in sight, no feedlot or butcher, just cacti and coyotes and a slow-moving herd. I'll leave you with the Cowboy Code:

1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. He must always tell the truth.
4. He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
5. He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6. He must help people in distress.
7. He must be a good worker.
8. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
9. He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
10. The Cowboy is a patriot.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Glossy pages!

Bella Dia posted the other day a timeline of the magazines that have dotted her life. I love magazines too and have since I was small. So here is my list:

Muppets magazine
Barbie Magazine
Cabbage Patch Kids Magazine
Weekly Reader
Mad Magazine
Horse and Rider
Horse Illustrated
AKC Gazette
Mother Earth News
Woman's Day
Country Woman
Taste of Home
Family Circle
Pac' O Fun
Crafts N Things
Family Fun
Martha Stewart Living
Mary Engelbreit Home Companion
Light and Tasty
Vegetarian Times
Better Homes and Gardens
Good Housekeeping
Country Home
Cottage Living


groovyholly's got us thinking about scents and memories over at Create A Connection.

1) Throughout childhood and even adulthood certain people always smelled different to us, what scents remind you of a loved one?
Old Spice (in the classic ceramic bottle) reminds me of the special times when my dad would clean up, shave and put on one of his fresh western shirts (instead of a work shirt). These occasions were rare but the smell of Old Spice almost always meant something special was happening. I had gotten all A's and we were going out to dinner. Grandma was in town and we were going into town for lunch. Or I was about to graduate from High School. My dad didn't go to school plays or open houses or spelling bees. That was mom's job. But when the occasion was really worth celebrating, Dad would pull himself away from work and the garage and the farm to accompany us into town.
2) Are there any scents that remind you of a special place or time in your life?
My Grandma A's bathroom was FULL of rose-scented soaps and candles. It had pink rose wallpaper, pink toilet cover, rug and towels. My failing memory seems to recall even the fixtures were pale pink but it could have just been the haze of rose-scent clouding the room.
3) What are some comforting smells for you?
I love the smell of clean sheets. Throughout my childhood, my dad smoked in the house. When you are constantly around cigarette smoke, you no longer smell it but you also don't smell much of anything else. When I would spend the weekend with my sister, I would be amazed at how GOOD her house smelled. The bathroom smelled like air freshener, the beds smelled like detergent and fresh sheets from the cedar closet, the kitchen smelled like apples and lemonade or coffee and muffins! Clean sheets with a hint of cedar are a dream come true. I love sniffing pillow cases!
4) Do you use any form of aromatherapy in your home or throughout the day?
I have Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint lotion at work (relaxing) and their sleep and passion scents at home. The sleep scent to me smells like the bug spray at had at Girl Scout camp one year and puts me straight to sleep thinking about zonking out after a night of giggling in that tent.
5) What scents evoke the most powerful memories for you?
The smell of musty wood chips reminds me of 4-H. Horse shows at county fair grounds, dog obedience classes at the stock pavilion, seminars in someone's barn, taking care of my own animals. I was socially awkward at school but when I smelled wood chips, I knew there was at least someone around that I had something in common with and I was somewhere where I could handle what was thrown at me.
6) What are some of your favorite scents/smells?
Dog feet! I love the corn-chip-ish smell of dog feet! I also like candles that are fruit or baked-goods scented. I love soap that is Oatmeal, Milk and Honey scented. I like fresh pine and citrus scents too!
7) If you had to describe yourself as a scent (or combination), what scents would you be?
I would be a kitchen smell, probably a batch of snickerdoodles baking with a background scent of a soapy sinkful of dishes. I would call it Aprongstrings.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week

Flash Your (Needle) Stash
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
This week's task is to flash our (needle) stash! So here is my needle-holder with most of my needles. Some of my circs are hiding underneath. Most of my needles (except for the Boye Balene needles) are hand-me-downs are garage sale finds. I recently cleaned out my doubles and here's what I have to offer anyone who wants to trade:
size 13, 10 in.
size 7, 14 in. (2 pair)
size 10.5, 1o in.

size J crochet hook
size I crochet hook

Offer me whatever you got! Fabric, candy, ribbons, whatever!

Pinecone Ornament Tutorial

It's my 100th post! No, I'm not giving away anything awesome, sorry. Well, I am giving the world this spiffy new tutorial for Oc-Tute-ber!

Oc-Tute-ber Tutorial #5 for:
Ribbon Pinecone Ornaments

Our tutorial for today is available on Whip up. Thank you to Kathreen for posting it and hopefully getting some more publicity of Oc-Tute-ber! And thanks to Craftzine for the mention!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ribbon Lanyard Bracelet Tutorial

Oc-Tute-Ber tutorial #4 for
Ribbon Lanyard Bracelet

Those who have made lanyards at scout camp will be familiar with the weaving used to make this bracelet.

What you'll need:
4 pieces of ribbon, each 2 yards long (For this bracelet, I used 1/4 inch wide but you can use any size or combination of sizes)
Needle and thread

Overlap the centers of all four ribbons as shown here. Secure these together by either lightly tacking together with needle and thread of adding a drop of glue to each intersection.

To begin weaving, fold the first ribbon down over the one underneath it.

We work first in a counterclockwise direction so continue to fold down the next ribbon across the one beneath it.

And the next

And finally the last

When you fold the last ribbon over, slip it under the loop of the first ribbon you folded down like so. Tighten all four ribbons.

After going around counterclockwise, reverse the pattern and fold the ribbons across working in a clockwise direction. Begin this round with the ribbon you just passed under the loop.

Continue repeating these two, tightening the ribbons after each round, until your weaving measures 3 1/2 inches long.

Then repeat on the opposite side of where you tacked your ribbons together. Stop when the entire piece measures 7 inches long.

To fasten both ends, sew a criss cross stitch through each of the four squares and cut the ribbon close to the weaving.

Then give the bracelet a full twist and butt the two ends up gainst one another. Whip stitch the edges together.

The bracelet will look small but it stretches to fit over your hand.

You can also find this tutorial over at Cut Out + Keep.